Sleepless nights seem to last for ever. Who recognises clock watching click by click to then fall into a deep sleep half an hour before the alarm goes off?
When lack of sleep goes on night after night the wear and tear on our overall health is debilitating. For some of us – new parents being the obvious example, there is a tangible reason for lack of sleep or those with chronic pain and illness for whom lack of sleep becomes a serious issue but for many people there doesn’t seem to be an obvious reason.
Wake up. And we’re off…
Time to deal with your own household universe, children to house share. Maybe you are a carer for someone else or maybe you are own your own. The average person deals with a multitude of life before 8am. Off to work… everyone is trying to get to work/school/somewhere. Packed trains, too hot, too cold, leaves on the line.
At work, it’s all going on. Things to do, so little time, oppressive environment.
Tempted to curl up and sleep under the desk.
Coffee. Fluorescent lights, screens, screens everywhere. Repeat in reverse. Post-work drinks? Gym? Deadline to pick up kids. Go home. Read emails over diner.
Fix the universe.
Go to sleep… sleepless night… wake up… feel the stress levels rise. And repeat.
This sounds like a seriously negative take on life. I really don’t want to be negative because life is amazing in so many ways. I hope that we can focus on the good things in life but I want to illustrate the cycle of time that many face. I feel it is important to acknowledge that for some life is more than ‘tough’.
3.5 million adults in the UK get less than 5 hours sleep a night.
Lack of sleep can almost double the risk of a heart attack. We need 7-9 hours sleep a night to complete a full sleep cycle. Regularly interrupting your sleep cycle is bad for your health. Shift workers are known to experience long-term issues due to the interrupted patterns in their sleep. The cost to the economy is increasing as a result. Once any physical issues are ruled out, the biggest reason for sleep issues is stress.
The challenge in addressing this is working to find the psychological root – if there is one. A truth is that life can be tough which creates stress.
The reality is that there may be a cumulative set of reasons, of experiences that have combined to create the barrier to restful sleep. I wish I had a magic wand to magically send you all to sleep. Without a wand, I can offer that starting to identify what you can change is important. Accept that you cannot change everything overnight and you may not be able to remove many of the things that cause you stress so consider what is in your power to work with.
- For some suggestions on how to get to sleep, visit our sleep suggestions on our next blog post: 5 things to improve your sleep